Lumberjacks, Hilltoppers erase 5-run deficits to split doubleheader

Apr. 13—BEMIDJI — Jim Grimm saw plenty of things to appreciate in his Bemidji High School baseball team's first three games.

Despite the Lumberjacks dropping two of them, including a doubleheader split with Duluth Marshall at Des Sagedahl field on Saturday afternoon, the BHS head coach saw a team eager to learn through the highs and lows of a game.

"They're willing to listen and learn," Grimm said. "They still have a lot to learn. There's a few things that we should've learned, but we haven't yet. But these are high school kids, and they will make mistakes. We'll point them out, but we have to remember to stay positive because they do a lot of good things too. They made a lot of good plays, and guys came up clutch."

Grimm's aforementioned clutch showed several times on Saturday. Trailing 5-0 in the first leg of the doubleheader, the Jacks scored seven runs in the third inning en route to an 8-6 victory. Then, facing an 8-7 deficit in the bottom of the seventh in the second game, Bemidji scratched and clawed for the tying run before falling 13-8 in nine innings.

Duluth Marshall jumped on BHS early in game one, plating one run in the first inning and four in the second. Owen Hayden delivered the big blow with a two-run double.

The Lumberjacks got to work on erasing a five-run deficit early in the third inning. Peyton Neadeau drove in a pair with a bases-loaded single. Two batters later, Neadeau and Jack Lundquist scored on an error to cut the Hilltoppers' lead to one.

Another Duluth Marshall error tied the game. Dylan Waukazo reached second base, while Landon Hanson scored on a blunder from Hilltoppers pitcher Owen Marsolek. Gavin Kapaun gave BHS its first lead this season with a two-RBI single two batters later.

Grimm, who saw his team manage just one run against St. Cloud on Friday night, was encouraged to see a better response after falling behind by five runs.

"We improved dramatically from yesterday to today," Grimm said. "We still have some issues to work out, such as giving up too many walks and giving away too many free runs. But we swung the bat better, and we pitched better. Overall, it was an improvement."

Thanks to the clutch bullpen work from Gunner Ganske and Lundquist, seven runs were all the Jacks needed. Ganske earned the win, striking out three batters in the four outs Bemidji recorded while he was on the mound. Lundquist notched a two-inning save, allowing one earned run and striking out two hitters.

"That was huge," Grimm said. "They gave up just the one run, and they gave us a chance to get something going. "I'm very proud of those two young men."

In the back half of the doubleheader, the Lumberjacks jumped out to a five-run lead in the first two innings.

Neadeau drove in a run with a single in the bottom of the first inning, then again in the second to put BHS ahead 4-0. Lundquist added a two-RBI double before Neadeau's second run-scoring hit. Ganske tacked on an RBI double before the end of the second.

The Hilltoppers chipped away, scoring three runs in the third and another in the fourth. A three-run third inning tied the game at 7-7 before Duluth Marshall took the lead in the top of the sixth.

With runners on the corners, Charlie Hayden scored from third while Aaden Westerbur was caught in a rundown.

Down to its last three outs, BHS got its leadoff hitter on first when Kobe Brown walked to open the bottom of the seventh inning. He stole second base, then advanced to third on Kaupaun's sacrifice bunt. Brown scored with two outs after Lundquist reached on an error.

"We've talked about it throughout the year," Grimm said on using small ball to advance Brown to second. "By and large, we won't be the kind of team that uses the bunt a lot. I'm not a big believer in giving up an out for a base. But sometimes, you just do what you have to do. We have to be able to bunt when we need it. We probably could've used it a little more for base hits today."

Kapaun started the game on the mound but was relieved by Stonewall Gessner in the fourth inning. Kapuan returned to the game as a pitcher in the top of the sixth after spending some time in left field.

In total, Kapaun pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs, three hits and six walks while striking out six batters.

"We had to get pretty innovative with how we finagled our staff today," Grimm said. "We'll get a little rest now and get some guys who can come back on Tuesday. We got a chance to see how poised they are on the mound. We got to see how good their stuff is against a pretty good Duluth Marshall team. Towards the end of that game, you just have to get guys out there and see what they can do."

The Hilltoppers had the last laugh in the top of the ninth inning. Max Berrisford belted a three-run home run after BHS elected to intentionally walk Owen Marsolek with two outs and a runner on second. Duluth Marshall scored two more runs on Juri Lobovich's single before the inning ended.

The Jacks head into Tuesday's doubleheader at 4 p.m. against Duluth East at the BSU baseball field with a record of 1-2.

"These guys have shown they're not going to give up," Grimm said. "We're happy with that, even with a tough pill to swallow there going into extra innings and giving up (five) runs. They still went up there hacking. They'll be fine if they stick to the same path."

Bemidji 8, Duluth Marshall 6

DM 140 001 0 — 6-4-5

BHS 007 001 X — 8-5-5

WP: G. Ganske (1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)

LP: O. Marsolek (5.1 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 9 K)

S: Lundquist (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)

Duluth Marshall 13, Bemidji 8 (F/9)

DM 003 131 005 — 13-12-2

BHS 142 000 100 — 8-12-2

WP: Berrisford (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

LP: Brown (0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K)